Eating at a Chinese restaurant a couple of days ago, my fortune cookie contained this message: “You will be making many changes before settling satisfactorily.” Quite aside from the humor in the message that all my friends and family no doubt appreciate, the fortune does contain two tricky concepts, the first of which is “satisfactory,” implying that my changes bring satisfaction in my life. The second problem is “settling,” which looks ahead to a time when things aren’t in flux.

To be honest, I’m not sure I want to “settle satisfactorily.” I don’t mind being satisfied; I feel that I am indeed more and more satisfied with my body, mind, and relationships. But I really don’t want to be settled, at least in the sense of relaxing and being happy. I like the mental edge I have developed over the course of this crisis, and I think I have become, and continue to become, more thoughtful and accepting of others. I also don’t mind continuing to change — perhaps not in the same desperate pace that characterized these past 2 years, of course. But in an emotional and intellectual sense, I enjoy change and feel I’ve become a better person by learning to adapt to change.

Maybe I’m looking a Chinese fortune cookie gift horse in the mouth, and should just accept the fate written on that little strip of paper. Perhaps. But I’d rather decide on my own when (and if) I have reached a point of satisfactory settling.

A piece of paper baked into a cookie

A piece of paper baked into a cookie